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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who are foreign-born immigrants?
  2. Who are emigrants?
  3. Does the Census Bureau collect immigration data?
  4. Do estimates of net international migration include unauthorized immigrants?
  5. Does the Census Bureau produce estimates of international migration for other countries?
  6. What is a “vintage” of estimates?

Who are foreign-born immigrants?  back to top

The U.S. Census Bureau uses the term foreign born to refer to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen at birth. This includes naturalized U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (immigrants), temporary migrants (such as foreign students), humanitarian migrants (such as refugees and asylees), and persons illegally present in the United States. Foreign-born immigrants are foreign-born people whose usual place of residence is in the United States.


Who are emigrants?  back to top

Emigrants are people who live in the United States and who move to a foreign country. We estimate both foreign-born and native emigration.


Does the Census Bureau collect immigration data?  back to top

No. The U.S. Census Bureau creates estimates of foreign-born immigration and also collects and publishes survey data on the characteristics of the foreign born resident in the United States, such as country of birth, year of entry, citizenship status, and the size of the population. By comparison, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics publishes statistics and reports based on administrative data, such as the number of persons obtaining legal permanent resident status, refugees and asylees, naturalizations, nonimmigrant admissions, and enforcement actions.


Do estimates of net international migration include unauthorized immigrants?  back to top

Yes. The estimates of net international migration include all foreign-born immigrants and emigrants, regardless of legal status. Thus, unauthorized migrants are implicitly included in Census Bureau estimates of net international migration, although it is not possible to tabulate separate estimates of unauthorized migrants.


Does the Census Bureau produce estimates of international migration for other countries?  back to top

Yes. The Population Division of the U.S. Census Bureau conducts demographic, economic, and geographic studies of other countries and strengthens statistical development around the world through technical assistance, training, and software products. See the International Data Base (IDB) for more information.


What is a “vintage” of estimates?  back to top

Each year the Population Estimates Program releases a new series, or vintage, of population estimates which include estimates from the prior census through July 1 of the current year. With each new vintage, the estimates for the previous years are revised. Previously published estimates are superseded and archived.



Source: U.S. Census Bureau | International Migration |  Last Revised: 2013-04-12T15:53:15.233-04:00